Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center

Experts: Complaints against Al-Raisi have destroyed the reputation of INTERPOL

20 Jan 2022
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Although this is not the first time that legal complaints of torture have been filed against the new head of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), Emirati Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, this has attracted more attention than the previous complaints because he holds an international position, as the previous ones had pursued him as an official of the UAE police.

In addition, most of the previous lawsuits filed in a number of countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, and Turkey, were dismissed by the courts for lack of jurisdiction because Al-Raisi was not on European soil or even within those countries, but his transfer to Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France, made him vulnerable to prosecution once again.

Tuğba Bayar, professor of international law, said, "There are two possibilities for the path that new complaints against Al-Raisi can take in France. The first is the opening of an investigation into these complaints by the French judiciary, in which case he may be arrested or at least summoned for investigation. The second is that the complaint would be rejected again because of his diplomatic immunity under the 2008 agreement governing relations between Interpol and France."

Bayar believes that in the event that international law is applied properly, away from political influences, the first path is more likely, because the French judiciary "has become competent to look into the case due to Al-Raisi's presence on its territory, and the invocation of international immunity is not possible because Al-Raisi is still practicing his job in UAE police.", but it does not rule out that political influences will lead to the closure of the complaints file, as happened previously.

For his part, the Emirati legal advisor, Mohammed bin Saqr Al-Zaabi, believes that regardless of the path these complaints will take, they will "significantly affect the reputation and credibility of Interpol."

Al-Zaabi asserts that such complaints, regardless of their outcome, put Al-Raisi in the spotlight of the world, and make it impossible for him to practice any new legal violations, knowing that human rights organizations and the international community are "watching him".

Al-Zaabi agrees with Bayar, about the overlap in these cases between the legal and political aspects, noting that the origin of the French judiciary is specialized in such cases according to the principle of universal jurisdiction, and that "the accused has become frequently enter France, and there is no excuse not to track these cases, except for the intervention of the executive authority, which may not want to open such a file because of its interests with the UAE regime."

Regarding the objectives of submitting these complaints, Khaled Ibrahim, head of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), one of the parties that filed complaints of torture against Al-Raisi, says that "it is very important in presenting the true image of the UAE as a country where grave violations of human rights occur, and because of the absence of local mechanisms to achieve justice, we must achieve it using the principle of international justice.”

Ibrahim expects to have an influence on Al-Raisi inevitably, because these legal cases will pursue him and show him "as wanted for justice", and highlight his role in "the practice of torturing Ahmed Mansour and other Emiratis," stressing that "the right will appear and the executioners would be punished, in the UAE and the rest of the countries of the region, even if after a while".

For its part, the International Campaign for Freedoms in the UAE (ICFUAE), stressed it hopes that "positive measures will be taken by the French authorities in response to these complaints of torture", and that the victims, including human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and British academic Matthew Hedges, will obtain the justice they deserve.

ICFUAE once again condemns giving the position of Interpol’s president  to Al-Raisi, in light of the "horrific human rights record of the UAE and Al-Raisi's participation in a security apparatus that relentlessly suppresses dissent and targets human rights defenders."

It is noteworthy that the Agence France-Presse (AFP) revealed last Tuesday that new complaints of "torture" and "atrocities" were submitted to the Crimes against Humanity section of the Anti-Terrorism Prosecution in Paris, against Major General Al-Raisi, who is currently in France.